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Water and Sewer Rates Going Up

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Proposed FY23 Residential rate $17 per 100 cu. ft. (HCF); commercial rate will be $28.08 per HCF

  Residents will likely see a 4.25 percent hike in their water and sewer bills, but the increase isn’t as high as it could have been, according to city Finance Director Richard Viscay. On Monday night, Viscay presented the recommended water and sewer rates to the City Council, as well as a plan to structure the rates over the next three years to prevent them from rising a whopping 17 percent.

  The City Council will be taking up the proposed water and sewer rates and the plan presented by the City of Revere at a future Ways and Means Subcommittee meeting. If the City Council adopts the recommended adjustments, the combined residential rate for Fiscal Year 2023 will be $17 per hundred cubic feet (HCF), and the commercial rate will be $28.08 per HCF, a 4.25 percent increase from the current fiscal year.

  “It is extremely important to note that the recommended increase is much lower [than] what would be needed to fully fund the Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund for FY2023,” said Viscay. “In fact, without a subsidy from other financing sources, the increase would need to be nearly 17 percent.”

  The increase is a result of increases to the city’s fixed costs, including a $1 million increase to the debt service, a $1.28 million increase to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) sewer assessment and a $570,000 increase to MWRA water assessment. Viscay noted that the actual operating costs outside of the fixed costs decreased by 6.4 percent from FY2022.

  “We all know that this is terrible news, so after strategizing and talking to the mayor and some of the people in the Water and Sewer Department, we are before you to present a plan to try to stabilize the rates over the next three years,” Viscay told the council. The plan would keep the rate hike for FY2023 as well as the following two fiscal years at 4.25 percent, he said.

  The plan would include the use of $3 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds over the next three years, as well as $1 million from the water and sewer stabilization fund and $900,000 from the water and sewer retained earnings account. “So, long story short, it’s going to take us $3.4 million in FY2023 to keep our rates at 4.25 percent,” said Viscay. “We are asking the council to consider adopting a three-year rate structure so that we can apply our ARPA funds and keep the rate stable over the next three years.”

  Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe said he has a number of questions about the plan and the rates, but would bring them up at the Ways and Means Subcommittee meeting.

  “I don’t think anyone is thrilled with that plan, but we are here before you to explain that these unfunded mandates from the consent decree and the debt service charges … [leave] us with no choice but to come up with a plan we think is as best as we can put together for the rate payers and the community,” said Viscay.

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